Monday, March 16 2009
Barn Notes 3-15
Stately Character Facing Florida Derby Decision
With a stakes win under his belt and an encouraging performance over the track, New Life Stable and Equus Racing Stable’s Stately Character could join the field in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) on Sat. Mar. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old homebred son of Pleasant Tap won the Foolish Pleasure Stakes last September at Calder Race Course before going on the shelf until early this season at Gulfstream.
CHRISTIANA’S HEAT TAKES IRISH O’BRIEN AS UNUSUAL HEAT OFFSPRING SHINE
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2009) – Second five times in six previous races over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course, Christiana’s Heat proved best in a three-horse photo finish Sunday to capture the 12th running of the $125,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares while running the 6 ½ furlong distance in 1:13.32.
With Michael Baze in the saddle, 5-2 second choice Christiana’s Heat edged Waveline by a nose with 9-5 favorite Bel Air Sizzle another neck back in third as offspring of Unusual Heat continued to be prominent in the stakes race named for a mare who had an affinity for the unique downhill grass layout.
STABLE NOTES, SUNDAY, MARCH 15TH, 2009
MITCHELL HAS BACHARACHS’ HORSE IN TUNE FOR SAN LUIS REY
Mike Mitchell has precedent going for him in next Saturday’s San Luis Rey Handicap. The 60-year-old trainer has more than one successful reclamation project on his lofty and lengthy resume, and he hopes to add to it with a 5-year-old gray gelding named You Got Me Rocking in the Grade II turf race at the marathon distance of a mile and one half.
On the Acorn and Star Over the Bay are among the former claiming horses Mitchell elevated to stakes winners. You Got Me Rocking will be seeking his first stakes victory in 15 career starts. He has started in only three, finishing eighth in the San Diego Handicap last July 19, third in the Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 23, and fifth in the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch at Oak Tree on Sept. 27.
SIREN LURE TOPS NOMINEES TO GOLDEN GATE FIELDS SPRINT
ALBANY -- The 8-year-old gelding Siren Lure, a career earner of $937,244, heads the roster of nominees to the $75,000 Golden Gate Fields Sprint.
A six-furlong event for 4-year-olds and up, the Golden Gate Fields Sprint will be run Saturday.
Siren Lure, owned in partnership by Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian, has been victorious in 14 of his 34 career starts. A multiple stakes-winner, Siren Lure scored his most recent stakes triumph in the Sausalito Stakes at Golden Gate Fields last November.
Classy filly crowned at Abu Dhabi
Sponsored by Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, the penultimate meeting of the season at Abu Dhabi featured the third round of the Arabian Triple Crown, a Group 3 event over 2200m and, like Round 2, it was the Rod Simpson-trained pair of Jazeerat Alsadyaat and Elmalak Elwaheed who fought out the finish.
However, the filly Elmalak Elwaheed was to gain her revenge over the colt after her defeat last time with Richard Mullen driving her to lead well inside the final furlong from her stable companion who had steered an erratic path throughout the final two furlongs.
Sunday, March 15 2009
MUSKET MAN BARRELS THROUGH FOR TAMPA BAY DERBY WIN
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 14, 2009) A crowd of 10,420 gathered at the Oldsmar oval today to witness Musket Man capture the 29th running of the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby, defeating the remaining field of nine to record his first graded stakes win. Musket Man is a Kentucky-bred son of Yonaguska who is conditioned by Derek Ryan for owner Eric Fein’s unprecedented second Tampa Bay Derby win.
Musket Man stalked the pace set by eventual second-place finisher Join in the Dance throughout the opening quarters, moving to the lead in final strides to win by a neck. Supplemental entry Justdontcallmejeri rounded out the trifecta, which yielded $10,232.20.
Smooth Air Up in Time to Capture Gulfstream Park Handicap
Mount Joy Stables’ 4-year-old Florida homebred Smooth Air wore down the leaders in the deep stretch of the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Saturday at Gulfstream Park to score a 1¼-length decision over Rolbea Throughbred Racing’s 5-year-old Finallymadeit.
Ridden by Paco Lopez, Smooth Air was making his second start this year after finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita in late October for trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. The son of Smooth Jazz relaxed off the pace down the backstretch of the one-mile test as Finallymadeit dueled for the lead with Robert Clay’s Formidable before Smooth Air rallied down the outside in the field of six older horses. Formidable held third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up.
El Crespo Back on Turf for Palm Beach Victory
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s 3-year-old Kentucky homebred El Crespo beat one horse last out in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 31 trying dirt for the first time, but he was back on turf Saturday to win the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) by a length over Dogwood Stable’s Lime Rickey, the 9-5 favorite.
Jockey Javier Castellano was aboard El Crespo, who had broken his maiden on turf over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 10 after two starts in Kentucky last year for trainer Rusty Arnold. The homebred son of A.P. Indy paid $10 to win and was timed in 1:47:71 for the 1 1/8 miles on firm turf. Darley Stable’s Stormalory finished third in the field of six 3-year-olds, a head behind the runner-up.
Winning Jockey Quotes
“Definitely a great trip and a great horse. We broke well and the slow pace really helped us. I knew the five (Duke of Homberg) and three (Casey’s On Call) were the speed (horses) coming in, so the plan was to settle in and take a shot whenever we could. We were behind the five on the backstretch but when I asked him he responded nicely. Unfortunately, I was hurt last time (and didn’t ride him in the Holy Bull) but he seems to like the grass and me, I guess. This is a really special horse and I think the best is yet to come.”
(Note: Alan Garcia rode El Crespo in Castellano’s absence.)
Winning Trainer Quote
“He’s a 3-year-old by A.P. Indy, so we thought we had to try him on dirt in the Holy Bull (as a potential Derby candidate), and obviously that didn’t work, so we brought him back here on grass. He ran a big race. It was basically his ‘a other than’ and to do it in a graded stakes was a big step for him. He’s a half-brother to a good turf horse in Rey de Café and I think his future will be on turf, although we might try him on Polytrack again. He didn’t do well in his first start at Keeneland, but that was sprinting.”
(Note: Arnold reported from Tampa Bay Downs where Humphrey’s Commodities finished unplaced in the Hillsborough Stakes.)
Barn Notes 3-14
Dunkirk Steps Up Pressure in Florida Derby Workout
Undefeated Dunkirk, the 2-for-2 contender for the Coolmore partnership of Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, posted his latest workout Saturday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center as trainer Todd Pletcher prepares him for his first career stakes attempt in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) on Sat., Mar. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 under exercise rider Patti Barry. Pletcher caught the colt’s last quarter-mile in 23 4/5.
PIONEEROF THE NILE ROMPS IN GR. II SAN FELIPE,
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Trainer Bob Baffert likes the way Pioneerof the Nile is growing up.
"He's becoming very professional. He was a May foal, so he's not even three yet. I like what I saw today," Baffert said after the smooth-striding colt romped to victory in Saturday's $200,000 San Felipe Stakes.
HEART ASHLEY MAKES A CHANGE AND WIRES CICADA
On paper, Zayat Stable’s Heart Ashley looked as though she would stalk the pace in Saturday’s 17th running of the Grade 3, $107,300 Cicada at Aqueduct Racetrack.
But when the gates opened, the Lion Heart filly got the jump on five other three-year-old fillies, including favored Dream Play. And that was ideal for her jockey, C.C. Lopez, who is known as an ideal fit for a speed horse.
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JUSTWHISTEDIXIE, STARDOM BOUND, RACHEL ALEXANDRA REMAIN TOP CHOICES HEADING INTO OAKS FUTURE FINALE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 14, 2009) – The streaking Justwhistledixie, an impressive winner in the Davona Dale (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park in her most recent race, continued to be a surprising favorite over the high-powered duo of reigning 2-year-old filly champion Stardom Bound and Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Rachel Alexandra as Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) headed into the last day of its four-day run.
West Point Thoroughbreds, Lakland Farm and Dee Hubbard’s Justwhistledixie, a daughter of Dixie Union who has won four consecutive races, remained a solid 2-1 favorite after Saturday’s betting and has been the fan’s choice throughout Pool 2. She remained atop the KOFW betting roster over Stardom Bound, winner of five straight Grade I races, and Rachel Alexandra, who rolled to an impressive victory on Saturday in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII). Both of those fillies were 7-2 shots at the end of Saturday’s betting, with Stardom Bound ending up as the actual second betting choice.